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Last year was a banner year. Soybeans. Corn. Conditions didn’t seem to favor one more than the other – it was all good. So why then did one of Eggert County’s top producers fall alarmingly short of his yield goal? If it can happen to Gerald Fitzgerald it can happen to anyone. Unless his brother Darrell can figure out what happened, who’s to say it won’t? Use the information on this website – from the latest weekly podcast, to character descriptions and especially case files, to solve The Great Yield Mystery.
After talking to Uncle Lewis again, it turns out he had more information on the weather than I previously thought.
Uncle Lewis finally shared his charts of temperature and precipitation from last year with me. It looked like Gerald planted during one of the few dry patches there were last spring. I think he said the previous year was about the same. I knew Gerald may have jumped the gun in the spring by planting after a few days of “monsoon” rainfall on May 7, but I don’t know what sort of implications that fluke snowfall might have had on harvest.
With two years in a row of heavy precipitation, could some of the seed, or even some of the nutrients in the soil have been washed away? Did I need to think about compaction again after he got into the field right after a heavy rain/snow? I really don’t think so, but I know this data, or data, however you want to say it should probably be held on to and looked at again.
As long as anyone can remember, Gerald Fitzgerald has set the bar for successful farming in this community.
Gerald’s success reached legendary status in 2014 with the highest corn yield anyone can remember on his best field. Folks wondered if he was about to do the same when he turned that field from corn to soybeans in 2015.
But Gerald isn’t walking as tall this year as he was last. An open seat sits at the coffee shop each morning where local acre-owners compare notes, and one can only wonder if this local farm star will ever re-claim his previous perch atop the county yield statistics.
Gerald may have been the quarterback of the Eggert East football team, but it was Darrell who played left tackle and made sure his brother’s blind side was protected.
Some things never change. While he no longer dons the pads to protect his brother, Darrell is as brotherly as any brother might be. That includes paying careful attention to his successful operation and making sure Gerald gets the right advice from the right people.
So when he saw his brother’s shoulders slump around harvest time, Darrell took action.